Thursday, June 19, 2008

Feeling the Weight of my Lightened Load

Our Family
June 7, 2008
This is one of the family pictures taken of us last week.  It is not the best picture of us.  I think Jon and I slept about 4 hours a night for 3 nights before this.  All of us were staying in a 10' x 12' bedroom.  Yes, all six of us.  And we are from Vegas, where in June it is summer.  This vacation we were in Utah at Aspen Grove and it was 40 degrees everyday.  The morning of this photo it was snowing heavily.  My kids were not happy about having to shed their coats for the photos. It was 11 a.m.  An hour past Camille's nap time and right at Lauren's nap time.  Plus both Sabrina and Annie could have used a nap after their late nights waiting for Lauren to quiet down to let them sleep and early morning waking with Camille's cry at 5 a.m.

Personally, I was on the verge of losing it in this photo.  Sleep deprivation does bad things to people.  I know.  I have experience in that department more now than ever before.  With four young kids, I often felt overwhelmed.  I struggled juggling with the youngest two--trying to Lauren the attention she needed and still take care of all Camille's immediate needs and cherish the moments she was in.  I wanted to just hold her and rock her because she was so little and I knew she wouldn't stay little forever.  I didn't want to miss her first step, which she just started doing last week.   She wasn't so busy yet that she wouldn't let me just hold her and love her.  She would snuggle against my chest and wrap her little arms around me.  She loved the attention and being held.  

But I still had Lauren, who was still trying to find her place in our family now that she wasn't the baby.  That was a hard transition for her.  And I was trying to give her all the attention she needed.  I was the third kid in my family.  My younger brother's were identical twins.  As soon as they came along, well, let's just say I was attention deprived as a child and did all I could to get attention.  Our family videos are filled with my parents telling me to move out of the picture.  That it wasn't my birthday etc...  So I wanted to give Lauren the positive attention so she wouldn't have to act crazy to get it.  It was a difficult juggling act most of the time.

Lately, I had been seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.  Lauren and Camille had been playing together more.  Camille was finally old enough to play a game or two.  Lauren had been playing better with Ann Marie as well.  Lauren was finally old enough to get Annie's games.  Once in a while I felt like maybe I could have another kid someday.  Three had been easy for me.  Four felt overwhelming, but I knew it would get better and it was getting better.

Now I am back to taking care of three.  And Lauren is not acting out for attention anymore. The girls all play well together most of the time.  Three is easy.  Three is easy and yet Only Three is so so hard.  


Anonymous said...

Well, that not-so-perfect family picture is beautiful. We try to can our children into the perfect looking family for pictures when in reality that's not what daily life is REALLY like. Lauren's looking like she usually is when I see her at church -- and I think her feistiness is so funny. Sorry, Mom. You can see that many of you were a little frazzled in that picture, but that is your family and that is your memory.

I'm sure that having 3 now when you had 4 is not the way you wanted to have 3. None of this really makes sense, you can't MAKE your mind make sense of it. Hang in there.

Leslie Wiley

Belinda said...

Your girls are beautiful. I've been thinking of your family every day and I continue to send prayers your way.

i said...

I am always in awe of mothers with many young children. You've done so well! It's so fun to notice all of the different personalities that come from one family! They are all so beautiful...and it looks like 70 degree weather. Could have fooled me!:)

arroyo fam said...

thank you for sharing your feelings so openly with all of us as we mourn with you and your family. I've been riveted to your blogs and feel your grief through your writing. Don't stop. This will be a healing power for you and for your family as you are able to express the depths of your pain. Your family will be able to read through this later and find comfort from your words.

We send our love to your family.

Robert & CeCe Arroyo

MomOf4 said...

This is a beautiful family picture. I am still praying for you and your family.

Mark & Emily said...

I love the comment by leslie wiley. it is so true that we always try to make our family look perfect for pictures. but it really is fun to look back on the not perfect ones and remember our kids true personalities.

i think your description of how you were trying to meet all of your kids needs just goes to show what a wonderful mother you are.

i totally laughed when you described your family videos. i would never have thought of you as wanting attention as a kid;)

your family is beautiful stephanie. maybe in a future post you can tell us more about camille's personality. we would all love to know her better. if you want to.

Alisa said...

You express yourself so well, Stephanie. Thank you for being so honest, so raw. I think your family photo is beautiful. You're all together in one place...and that is beautiful. Cami will always have her place in your family. There's nothing easy about raising three kids in this day and age, regardless. But now, you'll have an angel watching over you.

Alisa Ashby

Catherine Noorda said...

steph --

every post continues to make me cry. all i can think of lately is that i wish i could do anything to ease the pain.

you're in my heart.


Scrappy said...

I hope you are still feeling strength trough prayer, even the prayers of those of us that don't know you!
I posted about you on my blog today with a link to yours. I hope you don't mind.
I love the family picture.

Roxanne said...

I found your post through my daugher, scrapchair potato. My heart aches for your beautiful family and you will be in my prayers.
I'm so grateful for the gospel and the knowledge of the plan of salvation at times like this.

Beth said...

It is a beautiful picture that contains memories, hopes and dreams. It may not have been what you had hoped, but I pray it gives you peace. Those snowflakes, though cold and seemingly unwelcome, I'm sure looked lovely as they lay on your daughters' hair and eyelashes.
God's peace...

Rach said...

In spite of it all, it is indeed a beautiful family photo. I perfectly captured the moment you were all in.

I'm so sorry it's just three. So very very sorry.


kastelicfam said...

I found your blog through my friend Catherine. You can tell what a wonderful and loving family you are. I love that you are blogging. It is such a wonderful way to express your feelings and at the same time open your heart to all those who care. I will pray for you and your family.

Jaime said...

I don't know you and yet my heart is breaking for you right now. I share your faith and cannot imagine how hard this would be without it.
I am so, so sorry for your loss. Take things one day at a time-that is my only piece of advice.

Deanne Hill said...

Stephanie, I am so gateful to have gotten to know you and to have you as my faithful visiting teacher! I am so heart broken over your family's loss. I hope you feel my prayers for you added to the many expressed in your behalf already, and that you know of the love and concern I feel.
Deanne Hill

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for continuing your blog! Sharing the reality of your sorrow and grief, your faith and hope, your strength to move on and wake up every day to keep on living has helped me with my own healing process. Please know that because of this experience I will never be the same--I am a different mother, wife, person because of little Camille and your family and living a little tiny bit of your life through you. There are countless others who have been touched by all that has happened, and will never be the same. I love you so much and know that you are still so poignantly in my thoughts and prayers.

Julie said...

I am new to our blog. I know and love Darleen and my heart went out to you when I read what happened.

Camille is a beautiful little girl and obviously had a very full and happy life. I know I can't help ease your burden in any way, but I wanted you to know you are being though of all over the world. Even my three little girls have been praying for your family.

I also am amazed at your words. You speak so eloquently. I'm just touched by you and will continue to check in if that is alright.

You're in my thoughts.

Marleen said...

I have to admit this was one of my favorite family pictures of yours because of Lauren and Annie's sass, Sabrina's pleasant constant smile and Camille's cheerful smile. It's a little bit of each of their personalities which brought a smile to my face.

An observation made of Camille up at Aspen Grove was how she would just sit on your lap and give you loves and then turn and observe her surroundings. I thought to myself how wonderful that must feel. She was so good to give you love and just sit content on your lap.

"The only way to avoid the grief would be to not experience the love; and it is love that gives life its richness and meaning." (Elder Wickman)

How deep your sorrow and grief are right now yet they are there because you were so loved and loved. How sweet the thought that that love has not died. I love you and you are amazingly strong to me. I'm sure all your children are so proud of their mama at this time.

Cortni said...

I just found your blog and it breaks my heart to read what your family has just been through. I will pray for you and your family and I am glad that you continue to write. You are inspiring and I wish I had your strength.

God bless


Ashley said...

Praying for you...

vlgallant said...

Dear Wonderful Waite Family,
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I felt blessed to have watched Camille "emerge" as you volunteered during Sabrina's kindergarten year. You are a beautiful, loving family and my heart is so sad that you all are experiencing this. I am sending a huge hug of support and many, many prayers. During this time of loss, it's hard to remember that Camille is the lucky one.
Much Love,
Leslie Gallant and Family

Misha said...


I am Nikki's sister and spent the last few days going through your family photos for Camille's book. I am so sorry for your loss of your sweet baby, but so inspired by the beautiful memories captured on film of your family.

We have offered endless prayers for peace throughout this tragic experience and I have been truly touched by the spiritual fortitude of the Waite and Harris families.

Please accept our most heartfelt condolences.

Adam and Misha Edwards and
The whole Phil Brown Family

ERIN said...

I don't know you or your family and I will probably never meet you but I want to tell you I think you are a VERY strong person. I can't imagine loosing one of my babies and after reading your blog it makes me want to hold them forever in my arms and never let them go.I would like to think I would be able to be the same way. I am so sorry for your loss and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers! I am grateful we have the gospel to help us understand and move forward. Best of luck

Grandma and Grandpa Clark said...

Dearest Stephanie and Jonathon, Words cannot express my feelings right now. My heart is heavy and tears are close as I think about you, and memories come flooding back from when our little one near drown in our pool. I doubt if you remember our family, but Jill, our daughter in law,(Wallace) emailed me a few days ago telling me of your little one. I just checked my mail now and it is Friday, so, after reading your blog and also Leslie's I know little Camille has gone home to our father in heaven and is where she is meant to be. I know you know this but also I know the great big space that is left now in your little family and how much you will miss her sweet little spirit. Our prayers are with you and your family. These are the times when our faith is tested and strengthened. If there is anything at all we can do for you or if maybe you would like to talk sometime I will be here for you. I know some of the feelings you are feeling right now. It is hard I know. Our little Jared was in a coma for a long time. He survived but was severely brain injured. He was barely three at the time of his accident and we were blessed to have him until just after he turned twenty one. We don't know the Lord's plan for his children do we? We just have to trust that it is His work and His glory and be still and know that He Is. I know you know this and that He loves you. This will be your strength. We love you. Don and Evadean Clark (Iroz)

Joan said...

I lost my daughter to cancer on May 27. My heart goes out to you as your family adjusts to such a huge change. Your list of ways to cope will help you - just forgive yourself for the days when you don't seem to be progressing. Heavenly Father is aware and will provide tender mercies in many ways. You are in my prayers.

Julie Fletcher said...

Dear Stephanie and family
You don't know me although we have met once at a playgroup when I came with my sister Megan. My sister informed me of your loss and my heart sank. I in a way can understand a tiny bit of the pain from losing a child. We lost our baby girl at birth and although it is not at all the same as losing a child that you have gotten to know, it is still a painful loss. It hasn't yet been a year for me and my heart still aches but your blog has uplifted me and is helping me deal with my pain too. I love that you said that you are going to live the purest life possible in order to be with her again. That is my goal too. I sometimes think that these child were placed in our families so that we as families could work harder on our return home. Our family together talks about our return to our Ashlyn and we are so thankful for the gift she has given us. Your family is in our prayers and we will be praying for the continued comfort. Thank you for sharing your experience with so many people I know that besides from blessing my life you are blessing so many others.

Michelle said...

I just found this blog through a friend who knew it would help me. I know this is an older post I'm commenting on, but I just had to write and say I can relate to how you are feeling. We lost our baby boy last November at 38 weeks. He is our fourth son. So I know what you mean about "Only Three" being so, so hard. I love the way you verbalized that. I had always felt guilt when I thought of the fact that not having Benjamin here makes things "easier." Oh, if only he were filling my arms now and waking me up at night! The lightened load feels so unbearably heavy!

Emily said...

What a beautiful family. I just found your blog through my sister in law and as I have a little boy who is 14 months I found myself very sad, yet so touched by your words.